Author Archives: William Ramp

William Ramp teaches sociology at the University of Lethbridge, in Alberta, Canada. He’s bemused to find himself in his sixth decade, nursing both a long and faulty memory, and age-inappropriate attitudes. He is fortunate to be organized, inspired and kept in line by dear friends and cheerfully-irreverent children. He contends as best he can with a host of garden-variety demons, imagining that some day he will beat them all, but suspecting he really should invite them in for coffee and a chat at fireside. Though trained in academic prose, he’s returning to a love of creative and incidental writing left behind in high school. That love is now his lifeline; a way to retain a footing on new paths and to contribute to uncaged and free-range conversation. His interests tend to be intellectual, but he delights in poring over antique machinery, grafting strange sprigs onto unsuspecting trees, listening to frogs in spring, watching thunderstorms outside and in bare feet, and talking to crows and magpies. He bumbles at night around the porch-lights of culture and ideas, and gravitates to redolent old things left at the curb of modern life. He tries not to let frustration with bad politics and worse news eclipse his sometimes wayward and over-ardent affections for the things of this world. Banner(1) photo used by permission of photographer Penny McCoy:; banner(2) photo used by permission of photographer Bradley Rawlings; headshot photo by Louis-Philippe Valiquete, Laboratoire d'études durkheimienne, UQAM.

Not a Cry for Help

“So, what I said yesterday wasn’t a suicide threat or plea for help, but a truthful if exhausted expression of the contradictory reality I live and that is me, and of its consequences. As I’ve said before, the public/private split sweeps contradiction under the rug. Under the rug then go Berlant, Ehrenreich, Camus, Blanchot, Bataille, […]

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

“De Aanslag” (The Assault)

“These evocative images only sharpen a set of questions of which their photographers seemed oblivious. If the medic was sensitive enough to capture the soul of an elderly fisherman, how could he not see in that man’s eyes a hint that the army he was part of had just captured a nation? How could someone who took […]

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Farm & Feral Fauna

“I called, ‘Perky! Perky, come here!’ There was instant silence, and then, a second later, the dogs broke and scattered as if driven by some devil wind. All except one, who came trotting over to me, ears down, tail wagging. Perky. She and I walked back out of the darkened field; I held her by […]

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Transitions, Transections, Transfictions

“What parts of your day offer you the possibility of a tiny hiatus; unused time to pull over, stop, look around? In your ecumene, where do things past drift past use and awareness to the corners of household, social or industrial geographies: surplus, uncollected, collected only for disposal? The image of the car isn’t a […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Transitions, Transections, Transfictions

Trash Talk (Best of Hubris)

“I am known for walking with my eyes to the ground. This may be taken by some as evidence of my melancholy character. To my Edwardian great-aunts, it would have been evidence of future posture and moral problems; a sign that I might not be fit for the muscular, Christian manhood that the imperial projects […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Trash Talk (Best of Hubris)

In the Image of the Beloveds

“Even in these early pastorals, ghosts threaten quietude. Storm clouds loom; wind tosses trees; a farmer looks anxiously at the sky; a horse and cart are rendered by trick of perspective tiny and vulnerable under a brooding penumbra of woods and dusk. It is as if there is a knowing nod here to a reckoning; […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on In the Image of the Beloveds

How Images Unsettle: Learning from Photographic Diasporas

“Give us back our missing and murdered; our bruised, destroyed, humiliated and disappointed; those of ours who were and are lost strangers in their own land. Give us back our walking and eating and hunting and dreaming in this land and on the seas that claim us. We reclaim them from you and your history […]

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

What images Say: On Amateur Photographs & Ways To See Them

“I’m writing this while listening to news of devastating fires in California. Climate change has made catastrophic fire events a new normal in Western North America. Every household is now urged to put together a ‘go bag’ or ‘bug out bag’ against potential evacuation, including identification and ownership documents and family photos. These days, as […]

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Sic Transit: On the Love of Portable Plants

“Cut flowers are often left at gravesites and at locations where sudden death has taken place. Their cutting and consequent wilting provides a symbolic parallel to the ephemerality of human existence and of the ties we make in our mortal lives. To be born is not only to leave the womb but to be severed […]

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Not Well Aged

“As they age, both women and men now become less visible, if at different rates and to different degrees. (It is likely that those egotistical and misogynistic men who aggressively deny that this process applies to them are driven by a repressed and powerful fear of it, just as were the men who used vanitas […]

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments